A Naval Task Force, consisting of the Admiral Kuznetsov aircraft carrier, the Udaloy-Class destroyers Admiral Levchenko and Admiral Chabanenko, and auxiliary vessels, is currently on a two-month tour of duty in the Mediterranean Sea and North Atlantic.
Vice-Admiral Nikolai Maksimov, who leads the task force on the tour, said the Moskva guided missile cruiser of the Black Sea Fleet, which left Sevastopol on January 12, was to join the group in the next few days.
"We will meet in the Atlantic on January 20 and start a joint exercise," Maksimov said. "The two fleets and strategic bombers will practice interoperability for several days."
He said the current expedition to the Mediterranean, which started on December 5, is aimed at ensuring Russia's naval presence "in the key operational areas of the world oceans" and establishing conditions for secure Russian maritime navigation.
"I think that after this visit to the Mediterranean and France, the first in 15 years, we will establish a permanent presence in the region," the admiral said.
"We have discussed naval cooperation with our French colleagues and they confirmed their readiness to receive our combat ships at French ports in 2008, including at Toulon," he added.